Heritage Now

Prologue : too much geography

Mar 27th, 2021 | By | Category: Heritage Now

This is the opening prologue to Randall White’s work in progress on the modern history of democracy in Canada, tentatively entitled Children of the Global Village : Democracy in Canada Since 1497. For more on the project see The Long Journey to a Canadian Republic, which also includes drafts of (almost all) the remaining chapters […]



The Return of the Natural Governing Party, 1992–2006

Mar 18th, 2021 | By | Category: Heritage Now

Thirty years later many might say that the people of Canada made the right decision when they rejected the Charlottetown Accord in the autumn of 1992. The constitutional future the deal envisioned had been conceived in too much haste with too little popular debate. The major provisions for Quebec’s unique status, Senate reform, and aboriginal […]



New northern directions (and two lights that failed), 1976–1992

Dec 31st, 2019 | By | Category: Heritage Now

The middle of the summer of 1977 was not quite nine months after René Lévesque’s unsettling PQ victory in the November 1976 Quebec provincial election. And it was at this point that the Anglo-American economist and philosopher Kenneth Boulding told the 44th annual Couchiching Conference in Ontario : Canada is an “absurd country straight out […]



Canadian flag to Parti Québécois government, 1963–1976

Dec 23rd, 2018 | By | Category: Heritage Now

Some would characterize the Nobel Peace Prize winner Lester “Mike” Pearson’s comparatively short prime ministerial career (1963–68) as the time when Canada’s long-incubating federal welfare state achieved its ultimate modern fruition. Others would allude to one of “the most influential commissions in Canadian history, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1963–69),” which “brought about […]



Democracy in the Dominions, 1948–1963

Apr 6th, 2018 | By | Category: Heritage Now

Democracy in the Dominions : A Comparative Study in Institutions was a 614-page university textbook by the Canadian Professor of Political Science Alexander Brady —  first published in 1947, with a second edition in 1952 and a third in 1958. By this point the dominions in question had been reduced to four : Canada, Australia, […]



Age of the Incredible Canadian, 1921–1948

Dec 3rd, 2017 | By | Category: Heritage Now

Bruce Hutchison’s The Incredible Canadian — A candid portrait of Mackenzie King : his works, his times, and his nation was first published in 1952, only two years after the death of the man who is still Canada’s longest-serving prime minister (1921-1926, 1926-1930, 1935-1948). The first few sentences of the book’s first chapter nonetheless remain […]



Our Lady of the Snows, 1911–1921

Aug 11th, 2017 | By | Category: Heritage Now

In his Oxford History of the American People the controversial New England historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote that “the ‘King and Country’ argument was freely employed” in the 1911 Canadian federal election campaign. And “one of Rudyard Kipling’s worst poems, ‘Our Lady of the Snows,’ was widely circulated to rebuke the impudent Yankees.” Ironically enough, […]



Sunny Ways : Imperial Preference, New Boom, and Last Best West, 1896–1911

May 28th, 2017 | By | Category: Heritage Now

The late 19th century Canadian liberal nationalist light that failed was Edward Blake —  founder of the early 21st century business law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (aka “Blakes”), with offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Montréal, New York City, London (England), Beijing, and Manama (Bahrain). Blake came from a well-off progressive family of […]



Arduous Destiny : Canada’s alternative to the Great Barbecue, 1873-1896

Mar 8th, 2017 | By | Category: Heritage Now

The Dominion of Canada might have evolved in a somewhat less British imperial direction over the last three decades of the 19th century, if French Canada had discovered some worthy successor to George-Étienne Cartier. The closest approximation was probably Hector-Louis Langevin, after whom the Ottawa building (“Block”) that houses the 21st century Prime Minister’s Office […]



First self-governing dominion of the British empire : Further founding moments, 1867–1873

Sep 15th, 2016 | By | Category: Heritage Now

In the early 21st century it is not easy to think constructively about the now largely vanished first self-governing British dominion of Canada. The  northern North American universe from the late 1860s to the early 1960s is both too remote yet still too close at hand. Then there is the late historian Ramsay Cook’s quip […]